A blood transfusion is a procedure in which blood is given to a patient through one of the blood vessels either to replace lost components of the blood or to treat certain conditions. It can save lives and improve health. During a blood transfusion, healthy blood is transfused into one of the blood vessels through an IV line. Either whole blood or only components of the blood (red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets, plasma and clotting factors) may be transfused.
Blood transfusion is most commonly used as supportive treatment in open-heart surgery and serious injury care. It may also be used for complications related to pregnancy, malaria accompanied by severe anaemia, etc.
Improper ABO blood typing and crossmatching before transfusion may cause destruction of donor red blood cells by the antibodies in recipient’s blood (haemolytic reaction). Red blood cells transfusion has been linked with increased risk of infections. Inflammatory chemicals released by donor white blood cells can cause fever. Rarely, transfused blood may cause an allergic reaction. Transfusion-related acute lung injury is a risk associated with platelet or plasma transfusions. Contamination of blood products can result in transfusion-transmitted bacterial or viral infection.